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Redskins Practice report, Day 19: Williams and Amerson return

Redskins Practice report, Day 19: Williams and Amerson return

RICHMOND—The Redskins got together for their final day of practice in front of the fans here (there will be a closed practice tomorrow). Here are my observations.

—OT Trent Williams was back to a full workload. So was CB David Amerson, who participated in individual drills on Saturday. Still out for the Redskins were TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), and WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring).

—TE Ernst Brun, who tried out after the morning walkthrough and signed before the afternoon practice, was out on the field for individual drills. He made a nifty one-handed catch during one of the sessions.

—There was a bit of comedy during the first part of full team work. Someone on the offensive line jumped early and the play was not run. As the offense went back to the huddle, S Duke Ihenacho picked up the ball and marched off the five-yard penalty. That put the ball right in the middle of the offensive huddle.

—The defensive coaches are fanatics about players chasing after any loose ball that is on the ground. A pass was overthrown and DB coach Perry Fewell yelled “Ball, ball, ball!” as the football skittered along in the grass. The idea is that players shouldn’t be referees. No harm can come from scooping up a loose football and you never know when a call might go your way.

—RB Matt Jones has played with an attitude ever since he arrived in Ashburn. Maybe some of it is rubbing off on RB Alfred Morris. No question, Morris has been a tough, hard runner ever since he came to town in 2012. But he seems to be developing a bit more of an edge, some feistiness he didn’t have before.

Robert Griffin III has not thrown many interceptions this summer but he had two during one red zone seven-on-seven series. One of them wasn’t his fault. His pass to Trey Williams was on the mark but the ball bounced out of the running back’s hands and was picked off by S Dashon Goldson. The second one was deflected by CB Justin Rogers and picked off by, again, Goldson. Griffin finally got the offense into the end zone with a pass to Jones, who found a soft spot in the defense just over the goal line.

—Before yesterday I had never seen a practice start in pads and end without them but the Redskins took off their full shoulder pads about an hour and a half into practice, about the same time they on Saturday. It’s not a bad idea for a team that is somewhat banged up but I’ve covered plenty of limping Redskins teams and I’ve never seen a practice conducted like that.

—After the pads came off, Griffin dropped back to pass. He had to step up in the pocket and he may have been sacked before he threw to WR Pierre Garçon on a deep crossing pattern. The pass was wobbly but Garçon made a nice catch for a good gain. A couple of plays later ILB Keenan Robinson got a hand on a Griffin pass from out of the pocket but WR Rashad Ross adjusted and made the catch.

—Later on with the second team offense on the field, RB Chris Thompson took a handoff on a draw and popped up the middle for a touchdown on third and goal at the five. He is quietly putting a lock on the third-down back job. It was his to lose coming into camp and he has done nothing to lose it.

—On a third and one from about the 40, Griffin couldn’t handle the snap, recovered, rolled out, and overthrew WR Andre Roberts in the end zone. Jay Gruden seemed to be particularly disappointed by this play. He had his hands on his knees and stared at the ground for several seconds after it was over.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 25, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 15
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 22
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 29

Last look at Redskins vs Giants

Defense is on again—The Redskins have not played well on defense the last couple of weeks, allowing a total of 72 points to the Vikings and Saints. But they had a solid game against the Giants, with some help from inaccurate Eli Manning passes and some drops. But the numbers are what they are and they say three points allowed (not counting the seven on the pick six) and 170 yards of offense for New York. It’s the second time this year the Redskins have held an opponent to 170 yards or fewer (Raiders got 128 in week 3). It’s the first time the Redskins have held two opponents to 170 or fewer in the same season since 2004. For the Giants, it was their lowest offensive output since 2013.

Kirk Cousins’ night—Is it fair to say that he had a solid outing? Or is that not enough? He did lead a drive to the winning touchdown in the latter half of the fourth quarter of a tie game. The Redskins have won five games and Cousins has fourth-quarter game-winning drives in four of them. On Thursday, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and an interception that only the harshest critics (and there are many out there) would pin on him. Both of the TDs were special plays in their own ways. Cousins did take six sacks—those are not all on the makeshift offensive line—and he misfired on some passes. He deserves a solid B+ grade for the game.

Hall sits—A lot of people were alarmed by what they saw out of DeAngelo Hall in New Orleans, especially in the late going as Drew Brees got hot. Apparently, the Redskins’ coaches were among them. Even with starter Montae Nicholson sidelined with a concussion, Hall did not play a single snap on defense. It will be interesting to see if he is inactive when Nicholson is ready to play, possibly as early as next Thursday.

On a streak—No, not in the big wins column. I’m talking about winning the opening coin toss. The Redskins have now won two in a row. In the nine games prior to that, the Redskins had extraordinarily bad luck, going 2-7 in the 50-50 proposition. It remains very much in vogue for teams to defer after winning the toss. That has been the choice of the winners of the toss in 10 of the Redskins’ 11 games. The only team that chose to receive after winning the toss was the Raiders in Week 3.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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